Fat Girl Dies

The Fat Girl Timeline

When Fat Girl was born, she weighed 9lbs. The doctors said she was healthy.

When she was five, Fat Girl weighed 60lbs. The other girls laughed at her in her ballet costume.

When she was eight, she weighed 90lbs. The girls called her fat and boys asked if she had a penis.

When she was 14, she weighed 135lbs. The girls whispered behind her back. The men winked at her and pinched her shoulder.

When she was 18, she weighed 180lbs. Her boyfriend’s friend called her a whale behind her back. At least that’s what her boyfriend told her.

When she was 21, she weighed 200lbs. The old man said it was obvious she liked dessert when she offered him some cookies.

When she was 24, she weighed 250lbs. Her best friend said he liked fat, round women. She didn’t cry in front of him.

When she was 26, she weighed 300lbs. She stopped leaving the house.

When she was 29, she weighed 340lbs. She wanted to die.

When she was 30, she weighed 350lbs. She started speaking again.

When she was 32, she weighed 360lbs. She learned to live again.

When she was 34, she weighed 375lbs. She learned to love herself.

When she was 35, she weighed 275lbs. She learned she had cancer.

When she was 36, Fat Girl died.

Chapter 1

Fat Girl’s confidence directly correlated with the number of shots she’d had. She swayed as she leaned closer to the hot graduate student sitting in front of her.

He was deep in conversation with a friend. “You have to ask that girl out,” Hot Grad Student said.

Fat Girl and Hot Grad Student had a will-they-won’t-they relationship. At least, that’s what people told her. It wasn’t until someone pointed out how much time he spent in her office that she began to see him as a potential romantic interest. Hot Grad Student would hang out in the main office where Fat Girl worked as the secretary. He liked to tease her and share recipes. She enjoyed their banter.

The trouble with Fat Girl and romantic interests was she hadn’t had any in quite some time. Fat Girl was fat. She weighed 230 pounds and people didn’t find her attractive. Fat Girl had also gotten progressively meaner over the course of her life and tended to be a real bitch. She was also neurodivergent and couldn’t pick up a social cue, even if someone handed it to her.

“Wars are lost with indecision,” Hot Grad Student said to his friend. “You have to make a move.”

That should have been her clue. If he liked her, he would have made his move. He’d all but said it.

Instead of taking note of what had become painfully obvious, Fat Girl decided tonight would be the night she’d advance their relationship. She waited for his friend to wander away, then she leaned in, grinning. “If wars are lost with indecision,” she said, “when are you going to be decisive and make your move?”

There was nothing like a terrible opening line to complete an equally terrible judgment call.

“What?” asked Hot Grad Student.

“When are you going to make your move and ask me out?” asked Fat Girl, doubling down.

Hot Grad Student laughed nervously. “What do you mean?”

“Ask me out,” said Fat Girl, certain he just couldn’t hear her over the music in the bar. “When are you going to ask me out?”

“Oh,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on doing that.” His face fell and he looked like he wanted to disappear. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re not…you don’t like me?”

He shook his head. “I’m sorry,” he said again.

Fat Girl was stupid. Very stupid. They didn’t have a rapport. Hot Grad Student was just being nice. So few people were nice to Fat Girl, she didn’t recognize it for what it was and thought he had to have feelings for her.

Fat Girl backed away from Hot Grad Student in horror at her mistake. She turned and made her way to the door. She rushed to put as much distance between her and the bar as possible. She made it a block before she started crying. She wasn’t sad. She was so incredibly embarrassed and angry with herself.

She ordered a ride and sat quietly in the back seat all the way home.

Monday at work, Fat Girl arrived to find she’d been fired. That was a nice cherry on top of the shit sundae that had been her weekend. She collected the few personal items she kept on her desk, turned in her keys and again found herself heading home in a sour mood. Part of her was relieved. She’d never have to see Hot Grad Student again. Another part of her was upset.

Fat Girl sat down in her living room and decided it was time to call her mom.

Mom answered the phone quickly. “Hello daughter,” she said. “I haven’t heard from you since we talked last night.”

Mom was the first person Fat Girl called to update about her life. Technically, Mom was the only person she called. She’d text her father every now and then, but he was busy with his new family and rebranding himself. He’d become hyper-focused on his fitness after remarrying. Fit Dad didn’t really have time to think of anything else.

“I got fired,” said Fat Girl.

“What? Why?” Mom’s tone changed quickly. “Whose ass do I need to kick?”

“They said it was due to budget cuts,” answered Fat Girl. “So, no asses to kick unless you want to take on the whole university.”

“I’m always up for a challenge,” said Mom.

Fat Girl laughed.

“Have you applied for unemployment? Do you know how to do that? I can help.”

“Can we talk about that tomorrow and will you walk me through it? I don’t have the head space to do that today.”

“Absolutely. In the meantime, what would make you feel better?”

“I don’t know. I’m probably going to get pizza delivered and rethink my life.”

Mom was quiet for a minute, then, “I just put some money in your account. Food is on me.”

“I have money,” said Fat Girl.

“Well now you have more.” Mom was a teacher and didn’t make a lot of money, but that never stopped her from sharing. “Besides, your savings won’t last long.”

Fat Girl had a five-thousand-dollar safety net given to her by Uncle One, the eldest of Fit Dad’s brothers.

Uncle One owned a business with Uncle Two, Fit Dad’s second eldest brother. Between the two of them, they had more money than God and more guns than sense.

After Fat Girl graduated from college, Uncle One decided to give her five-thousand dollars. It was a one-time test to see if she had the financial know-how to invest.

She did not. Instead, Fat Girl clung to that money. Mom stopped her from blowing it on a weeklong trip to Hawaii. Sometimes Fat Girl lacked impulse control and Mom knew that better than anyone.

“Speaking of my savings,” said Fat Girl. “That made me think of Uncle One. I’ve been considering a trip south.”

“Oh? why?” asked Mom.

Fat Girl sighed. “Honestly, because the west has no idea how to make a decent biscuit and I kind of miss Fit Dad.”

“Well, it’s been a while since you’ve been back.”

“I also had a crazy, somewhat desperate idea.”

“Uh oh.”

“I was thinking about moving back to North Carolina.”

Mom gasped. “Really?”

“I don’t know. I feel like getting fired was a sign. Maybe this is a door closing and another one opening.”

 “Is this an impulsive decision or is it something you’ve thought about?” asked Mom.

“Moving there is a new idea,” answered Fat Girl. “But I’ve wanted to visit for a while.”

It had been years since Fat Girl had gone back to her home state. Both sides of her family lived there but she only ever looked forward to seeing Mom’s side. Fit Dad’s family lived in a world that made Fat Girl hate herself. Her default emotion was self-loathing. She didn’t need any more encouragement in that direction.

“Why move there?” asked Mom. “Why not just visit? Not that I’m against you moving. I’m just playing devil’s advocate.”

“Well, I need a new job anyway. Fit Dad’s family loves to hire their own. Maybe Uncle One and Uncle Two would give me a job.”

Mom hummed as she thought. “That’s actually not a terrible idea.”

“And it would give me a chance to see Fit Dad in his natural habitat where he can be his best. He’s always said he wanted me to move back home. I think he’d help me. And maybe this would be a chance to repair my relationship with him.”

“Uncle Two is your godfather,” said Mom. “He might be sympathetic if you talk to him honestly.”

Fat Girl shrugged. “I don’t know,” she said. “It could work.”

“Why don’t you take the week, decompress, and think seriously about moving. Think about the pros and cons and then we’ll reassess. I’ll help you either way.”

“Thanks, Mom,” said Fat Girl.

“You’re welcome.”

They talked a little longer, long enough for Fat Girl to realize how tired she was. Getting fired from her first real job turned out to be more exhausting than she’d anticipated. She decided to take a nap. When she woke up, she’d order her pizza and think about her new plan.